Category Archives: Crickets

Marlene Zuk and her famously shy crickets

We managed to pull off a bit of a coup at Breaking Bio (again!), having snagged Professor Marlene Zuk to chat with us about her popular science writing, research on rapid evolution, and – of course – crickets! Thanks to Bug Girl’s slot over at Wired Blogs, you can also read more there, or simply watch the podcast below. Remember, if you don’t want to see our faces, subscribe to the podcast via iTunes!

And, if you want to see the kind of selection pressures that are causing the spread of the silent-wing mutation in these crickets, check out the video below (courtesy of Nathan Bailey):

Let’s talk about (cricket) sex

Crickets: not just for lunch! (They also make attractive headgear). Picture courtesy flickr user ambidx (all rights reserved)

I was interviewed recently for John F. Taylor’s podcast ‘The Reptile Living Room‘, and this should be available to download shortly! is available now!

Reptile Living Room: Interview with Tom Houslay

John runs a rather wonderful herpetology website called ‘Reptile Apartment‘, and is a really nice, knowledgeable guy with a pretty ridiculous thirst for knowledge. As most of his fanbase are reptile owners who just use crickets (and other orthopterans) as feeder snacks for their pets, we thought it would be cool to discuss some more interesting aspects of their behaviour, as well as how they are being used to help us learn more about evolution and the natural world. It was great fun, so I hope people listen and enjoy!

For those that have arrived here after listening to the podcast and are interested to find out more, here are a few links to some of the items we discussed:

A nice overview of Professor Marlene Zuk’s work on the silent crickets of Kauai. Her new book, ‘Sex on Six Legs‘, is a fantastic read, and is available on Amazon. I am going to a conference this week at which Prof Zuk is giving a plenary talk, so I’m really excited about that!

Dr Nathan Bailey was part of that work, and continues to do some really exciting work using crickets. I met him recently, and he is incredibly nice – he also gave a fantastic seminar at the University of Edinburgh. His website is pretty great, and well worth a look (especially the video section!).

If you want to read more about sex role reversal in orthopteran insects, Dr Darryl Gwynne’s lab website is a good starting point. Darryl won an Ig Nobel award recently along with David Rentz for some research they carried out 30 years ago on beetles that were trying to mate with discarded beer bottles… there’s a nice interview with them here.

A lot of the other topics were about scientific papers, so I’m happy to provide references / links – just drop a note in the comments…